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Bosses keep a sharp eye on mobile workers via GPS

Ciro Viento commands a platoon of 110 garbage trucks, so when a caller complained after seeing one of the blue and white trash tanks speeding down Route 22, Viento didn’t know which driver to blame. Until he checked his computer.

With a few taps on the keyboard, Viento zeroed in on the driver of one particular front-loader — which, the screen showed, had been on that very road at 7:22 a.m., doing 51 miles per hour in a zone restricted to 35. Gotcha.

More employers are adopting technology like the system used by Viento’s company. As they do, many workers who have long enjoyed the freedom of the road are rankling over the boss’ newfound power to watch their every move — via satellite.

The technology, global positioning systems, is hardly new. But using GPS to track workers and vehicles is catching on with a growing number of business and government employers, bent on improving productivity and customer service, and keeping tabs on labor costs.

“If you’re not out there baby-sitting them, you don’t know how long it takes to do the route. The guy could be driving around the world, he could be at his girlfriend’s house,” said Viento of Automated Waste Disposal Inc., a commercial and household trash hauler doing business in western Connecticut and neighboring New York counties. “Now there’s literally no place for them to hide.”

Some long-haul trucking companies have used GPS to manage their fleets for several years. But the range of employers adopting GPS — usually fitted in vehicles or in cell phones and other devices workers carry on the job — is broadening, particularly among companies dispatching large numbers of service technicians, in the building trades and others whose workers span wide territory.

UPS Inc., for example, will distribute new hand-held computers to its 100,000 U.S. delivery truck drivers early next year, each equipped with a GPS receiver. The company says the feature will not be used to monitor workers, but to alert them when they’re at the wrong address or help them identify an unfamiliar location.  Read More

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Posted on April 22, 2012, in #technology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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